Couples planning to marry after meeting on the internet could face a series of legal pitfalls, a Worcestershire family lawyer has warned.
Karen Reynolds, a partner in MFG Solicitors, has been involved in legal wrangles in two cases recently.
"The internet method of meeting people has increased the number of people having relationships with people from other countries," she said.
"Although it is very easy and exciting to embark on an international relationship if you hope to marry and live together you could be in for a long haul," she warned.
She said that the two areas that caused the most problems and confusion were immigration and children issues.
"If you want your partner to come to this country to live permanently with you, even if you are married you will have to comply with immigration requirements," she said. "You normally have to show that you can support your spouse without any state benefits.
"I have seen a case where a lady has been refused entry to Canada because her spouse is on benefits and she has no significant money."
She added that where children were concerned couples should not assume that they could take their children with them if they wanted to join their partner or spouse abroad or bring them to the UK.
"For example, if a woman wanted to bring her children to stay in the UK she could be in breach of the law if she failed to inform their father of her plans and obtain his consent to remove the children.
"Failure to do so could lead to a charge of child abduction and, under the Hague Convention, the UK has arrangements with many others, except in exceptional circumstances, to order the immediate return of such children.
"Couples do need to make sure they have proper valid consent from the other parent, or a recognised court order permitting permanent removal of children from their home country, or they will have to resign themselves to leaving children behind, possibly with their former partner or another appropriate adult.